MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte urged the Filipino people to hold on to hope as the country celebrates Christmas in the middle of a pandemic that has changed lives across the globe.
Duterte, in a video message, acknowledged that the Filipino people is going through trying times and that “many lives were lost and forever changed” due to the pandemic and several calamities.
A Social Weather Station survey released this week showed that six in 10 Filipinos believe that the quality of their life worsened in the past year, while a separate poll said only half of Filipinos expect a happy Christmas.
But the president said the nation continues to rise through our unity, strength and indomitable spirit. Duterte said in the Christmas season, “let the story of Jesus Christ’s birth remind us that we should always have hope even in darkness poverty and suffering.”
“Let us allow Christ into our lives so we can bring love and share those who are most in need,” he added.
Robredo: Dig deep into the ties that bind us
Vice President Leni Robredo meanwhile said she hopes Filipinos will continue to be generous amid the pandemic that changed the country’s merry celebration of Christmas.
Robredo, in Filipino, said that while there will be no parties, carolling or big gatherings this Christmas, the goodness of others remains constant. “We are one family facing together, and rising from, any challenge; we all are bound by never-ending love of Christ,” she added.
“We follow His great example of working together to address crisis and past disasters. From being one with our healthcare workers and frontliners, donating and volunteering to response and relief operations, to simply following health protocols and spreading correct information on the virus—all of these, we are doing due to our love for others,” the vice president said.
Robredo called on Filipinos to dig deep into the ties that bind us. “While the pandemic changed our ways to celebrate, the significance of this day should not be diminished, because no pandemic or disaster can stop the flow of the Almighty’s love. No darkness can make us lose our ways, because we ourselves serve as light for each other,” she also said.
Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta for his part called on Filipinos to continue to be considerate to others. “While prudence and safety concerns dictate that we forego traditional celebrations and gatherings this season, may we not lose sight of the true spirit of this beautiful occasion: living a life of humility and compassion, the way Christ Himself taught us,” he said in his Christmas message.
House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco meanwhile expressed sympathy for those who lost their loved ones and their jobs due to the pandemic, as he stressed that the Congress will help the country get back on its feet.
“We are working tirelessly to pass laws that would help the nation get through this period of difficulty, starting with the 2021 national budget and all other priority legislation of [Duterte] that are designed to boost the economy and the country’s response to the pandemic,” he added.
The Philippines will be celebrating Christmas with nearly 465,000 COVID-19 cases confirmed in the country, and with more than 9,000 lives lost due to the coronavirus.
— Kristine Joy Patag
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